The technological invention that could save millions of piglets every year

A 23-year old pig farmer developed the product...

You may or may not know this, but in the first three days of a piglet's life, one of the biggest threats to its survival is its own mother. 

Around 5% of piglets that are born every year are accidentally crushed every year by their mother. That's around 6 million animals.

Matthew Rooda, a senior at the University of Iowa, has developed a technological solution, which he believes could help save the lives of piglets. The system is called 'SmartGuard', which consists of a device that monitors the wavelengths and frequencies of piglets' squeals. There is also a light-weight belt placed around the sow.

Using Rooda's software, SmartGuard detects when a piglet is in distress. At that point, it delivers a "vibration" to the sow's lower stomach through the belt. The aim of this vibration is to startle the sow into a standing up position. 

SwineTech cofounder Matthew Rooda

"If the first vibration doesn't work, we wait five seconds and do it again and then again once more after another five seconds," said Rooda.

Rooda said his startup 'SwineTech' worked with veterinarians to ensure the device wouldn't be painful to the animal.

"We follow protocols [and] industry regulations," said Rooda. "We think if those concerned learn about our background and product, they will see that this is a system that will significantly improve the well-being of sows, piglets and farmers."

"We hope over time the system can train the same animal to not lay on its piglets," said Rooda, 23, who developed 'SmartGuard' with his classmate Abraham Espinoza, 24. They launched the concept in 2015.